Over fifty years ago, a group of young women got together for coffee. They decided they would like to become a part of a growing organization which was making a difference in the lives of women: The Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Morrow Junior Woman’s Club, now known as the Morrow Civic Woman’s Club, was established and organized in the fourth district, now known as the sixth district. The date was May 1, 1962. Through these fifty plus years, this group of dedicated women has undergone many changes. This history of the club will touch on the major highlights.
There were twenty-one charter members at the first installation of officers held at James’ Waffle House in Forest Park on May 23, 1962. Jane Young, one of the charter members and early presidents, is still a very active member. The early club meetings were held in members’ homes. As membership increased meeting places were changed several times (once meeting in the fire station huddled around a fire engine due to scheduling mix-ups) to the present location of First Baptist Church of Morrow.
Through the years, the club has worked in many areas of service in the six areas designated by the Federation of Women’s Clubs. They are: Arts, Conservation, Education, Home Life, International Affairs and Public Issues. Each club member is required to serve on at least one department and one committee. Many of our activities have been centered on the desire to help those in need. One of our club’s first fund raisers was a hat show and sale to benefit the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation. We have helped with the Mental Health Campaign, the Cystic Fibrosis Fund, the Red Cross, the March on Polio, the donation of books to the local library for use by the visually handicapped, made “ditty bags” for our servicemen in Viet Nam, prepared salads on numerous occasions for the Cancer Society luncheons, hosted homes for the Cancer Society’s Fall Tour of Homes, sponsored a forum on help for battered women, donated canned goods and supplies to the night shelter for use by the homeless in our community, as well as serving dinner, breakfast and a sack lunch, provided needed items for the Samaritans Together program, adopted a family or two at Christmas for many years and provided them with food and gifts, donated money to Operation Christmas, participated in the Meals-on-Wheels Program, collected used eye glasses, prepared fruit baskets for local nursing homes, collected art supplies for children who are residents of Rainbow House, as well as for the children at the Ronald McDonald Home, and donated to the Battered Women’s Shelters. We have worked with the local free clinic since its beginning. Tallulah Falls School has always been an important focus in our donations and project work in keeping with the District and State project focuses.
We have held voter registrations on numerous occasions, and each election year for many years, we sponsored a political rally. This rally allowed citizens in our community the opportunity to come and meet candidates at the local and state levels. They met the candidates all day, we had a barbeque lunch as a fund raiser and then the candidates were able to speak at the evening rally. This was our signature event until the districting changed and it was no longer applicable.
One of the greatest achievements of our club occurred in 1976 with the establishment of the Morrow Branch of the Clayton County Library. Members of our club made the library board aware of the need for a branch of the library to be built in the growing Morrow area. The club was instrumental in seeing that this branch was established in a small area across from Morrow Senior High School. Soon to the great influx of its use, it was then moved to Lake Harbin Plaza shopping center. It is now located in a state of the art facility on Maddox Road. The local library has always benefited from our club through book donations, story hours, summer program activities and other needs as presented.
Morrow Civic Woman’s Club is very proud of a scholarship program that we have been presenting for many years. Each year, two $1,000 scholarships are given to a woman over 25 who is returning or beginning her college education at Clayton State University. This scholarship was renamed in memory of our former club president: The Andrea Kay Lane Scholarship.
The saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” also holds true for Jill. Not only do we work hard together, we play hard as well. We enjoy getting together with our families as well as “girls only” events. We celebrate birthdays monthly with a dinner out. We have a book club that meets monthly for fun and we even discuss the books. Some things that we have enjoyed together include family picnics, Christmas Dinners with husbands and guests, tours of homes, plays, puppet shows, Disney on Ice or Sesame Street Live, breakfast with Santa, Halloween and Hobo parties, Easter egg hunts with lunch, trips to Tallulah Falls School and shopping the craft shops along the way, luaus and gourmet group dinners, cookie swaps, eating out, movies and plays, concerts at Spivey Hall, the Fox Theater and other performance arenas. In recent years, we have done game nights, covered dish dinners, movie nights, antiquing and other activities that were not possible when most members had small children at home.
Our signature fund raiser for over the last 15 years has been our Fashion Show. We have a regular attendance of around 300 community ladies who enjoy a brunch and viewing of 30 of the latest fashions. Fashions were furnished by our good friend Becky Bartlett of Becky Yvonne Shops of Morrow until her death a few years ago. Belk’s now graciously works with us each year. We do other smaller fund raisers throughout the year as well: sell wrapping paper, pecans, knives and anything department chairs present to us. In recent years, we have had purse swaps, craft sales, bake sales, silent auctions, opportunity baskets, 50/50 opportunity tickets, etc., etc., etc. We strive to raise the money needed for our current projects and work to feed the money back into the community.
We have been honored in many ways for our many achievements in club work. We have been recognized at the district, state and national level as a club and as individual club women. We take pride in our affiliation with the GFWC and the Georgia GFWC and work to promote the standards and goals of each administration. We have had many members who have held district and state offices. Our members enjoy attending Central West District (formerly 6th District) Spring and Fall Meetings, Institutes, State Conventions and Southern Region Conventions. We enjoy the extension of sisterhood to the women from other clubs who have become close friends.
These things have only begun to touch the surface of the talent and dedication of the past and present members of the Morrow Civic Woman’s Club. In recent years we have had around thirty members. Our membership is always open to any woman who is a registered voter and wants to make a difference in the lives of others. Women join a club for many different reasons but usually learn that they have found other reasons that they did not know existed. We are dedicated to make the lives of others better. In the process, we have gained a greater sense of living outside of ourselves. We have learned to love each other and those with whom we come in contact. We have learned to put into action the words of the COLLECT that we recite at each meeting. We have become one in purpose. We have joined a club to do service to others and have become a sisterhood. We are grateful to those who have gone before us to show us the way and we pray that we will be examples to those who are to follow us.